The shocking rape and murder of seven year old Zainab in Kasur has drawn Pakistan’s attention to the issue of child sexual abuse. Needless to say, this is just one of the many multifarious ailments which afflict our society. However it has still exposed the weakness of clinical or punitive approach of tackling such problems. Fear of retribution creates some deterrence but it is not enough to check moral decadence. Very often social evils like child sexual abuse remain unobserved by the punitive instruments of state because of social taboos associated with such crime. According to Cruel Numbers 2016, a report by the NGO known as Sahil, 4,139 children became victims of child sexual abuse in Pakistan in 2016. In India during 2015, Save the Children reported14,913 child rape cases. Crimes Against Children Research Centre reports that at least 20 percent of girls and five percent of boys between the ages of fourteen and seventeen became victims of sexual abuse in the US. Even the Scandinavian welfare states present a similar scenario. In a survey held in Norway and reported by the Centre for Welfare and Labour Research at Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, 15 percent of girls and seven percent of boys were found to be victims of sexual abuse. The Danish Association of Parents for the Protection of Children in a report submitted to the UN Committee on the Rights of Children even mentioned existence of a legally registered association of paedophiles in Denmark. All these examples from both developing and highly developed nations indicate that mere economic development is by no means a key to creating a decent society. The ultimate goal of development must be to secure a good life in all aspects. It is not appropriate to erect an entire edifice of education based on workforce requirements of the prevailing neoliberal economic order. Such an approach can help only in producing a skilled work force, but the ultimate goal of educational development, which is to enable children to seek a good life would be lost It may seem a bit naive to suggest a simplistic prescription but since Socratic and Platonic times, the right kind of education has been considered the best instrument to build a good society. The American educational philosopher John Dewey rejects the idea of such education in which disjointed facts and ideas are conveyed by the teacher and memorised by the student only to be utilised later on. The school should rather be viewed as an extension of civil society which encourages students to operate as members of the community in pursuing interests in cooperation with others. Martin Luther King Jr. says the purpose of education is not just to teach a person critical thinking because even a criminal may be gifted with such faculties while remaining devoid of morality. True education gives the ability to contemplate and also higher ideals to contemplate upon. It is not appropriate to erect an entire edifice of education based on workforce requirements of the prevailing neoliberal economic order. Such an approach can help only in producing a skilled work force, but the ultimate goal of educational development, which is to enable children to seek a good life would be lost. A well devised moral education curriculum can help in training a society. In Pakistan, at early childhood development stage, which is the most vital phase of psychological development, no systematic moral education exists. A few tales from Aesop’s Fables can not suffice here. School education curriculum must include child friendly content teaching ethics, civic responsibility, human rights, empathy and respect for fellow human beings regardless of religious, ethnic and gender differences. Secondary school syllabus should even include the fundamental rights promised in the Constitution. In public as well as private sector educational institutions in Pakistan, undue emphasis is laid on competition while not realising the importance of cooperation as a desirable social virtue. This approach serves no purpose except developing selfish individuals feeling no stakes in collective life of society.It is better to teach children to cooperate and help each other vis-à-vis turning them into gladiators in a cut throat competition where everyone looks others as adversaries. To put this to an end, from high school and onwards the concept of community service and social responsibility should be made a mandatory part of education. Social sciences and liberal arts subjects including philosophy, sociology, psychology and literature should be promoted both as independent fields of knowledge and as a complementary component of scientific, technical and legal education. Teachers form the backbone of any education system and the success of any reform effort depends predominantly on them. The teachers educating early-years classes play a pivotal role in developing young minds. Therefore training of teachers, with the specific objective of imparting to them knowledge and skills required for moral development of children, is highly desirable. Similarly without mainstreaming of seminaries the objective of a wider social change will remain a distant dream. The awakening which society has demonstrated in the wake of the Zainab incident suggests the presence of a collective social will to improve. Now the responsibility rests with policymakers to respond to the will of the people. Taking inspiration from Michel Foucault I would say ‘Society must be defended’. The writer is a development policy analyst Published in Daily Times, January 15th 2018.